Bus driver may have blacked out before fatal crash, report says

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The driver of a bus that crashed earlier this month in Irving, killing three people, told authorities that he may have blacked out just before the casino-bound charter veered off a freeway and crashed, according to a preliminary report.

There are no indications that the bus had a blown tire, according to the report.

Sgt. Lonny Haschel, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the report states that the contributing factor is that the bus driver "failed to drive in a single marked lane."

"We don't have anything on the vehicle itself that points us in the direction of the motor coach," Haschel said.

He said the investigation continues.

Meanwhile, a third person who was on the bus died Sunday at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Alice Stanley, 83, was a longtime resident of North Richland Hills.

Stanley was a close friend of "Casino" Sue Taylor, the woman who organized the group that was taking the Cardinal Coach Line bus to Choctaw Casino in Durant, Okla., on the morning of April 11.

Taylor, 81, and Paula Hahn, 69, also died after the bus, northbound on Texas 161 in Irving, struck a barrier and veered across the freeway, where it hit a concrete barrier and flipped on its side.

According to the report, bus driver Loyd Rieve, 65, said he "looked up and observed the barrels (attenuator)" and said "he possibly could have blacked out."

Victim was a seamstress

A wake and celebration of life for Stanley will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hurst Skateland, Precinct Line and Pipeline roads in Hurst.

Her wake is at a skating rink because most of those who will be there have been clients of Stanley, who for more than half a century made costumes for roller skaters, ice skaters, ballroom dancers and other performers, said Linda Sewell, her daughter.

Her business, Costumes by Alice, was based in her North Richland Hills apartment, Sewell said.

"While most 83-year-olds are comfortably retired, my mom was still considered a master seamstress and productive even until she died," she said. "As a matter of fact, she had five costumes in production at the time of the tragic accident. She had a pretty unique skill. Nobody can duplicate what she's done. The quality of her work is legendary."

Sewell said her mother considered 13 to be her lucky number and that she often helped Taylor coordinate the gambling trips.

"Sue was scatterbrained and Mom was trying to get her organized," she said. "But she loved to go to the casinos. Penny slots were her favorite."

Another lawsuit filed

Despite the severity of her injuries, Stanley appeared to be recovering Friday and Saturday, before her heart stopped early Sunday, Sewell said.

"It was a miracle that she lived through the accident," she said. "The final cause of death is still to be determined. She was conscious for a couple of days. She remembered the accident pretty clearly."

A graveside service will be conducted later this week, Sewell said.

Sewell said a lawsuit has been filed against the bus company on the family's behalf by attorney Frank L. Branson in Dallas. Two women who were injured in the crash, Patricia Ruth Markham and Charlotte Reed, also have filed lawsuits against Cardinal Coach Line Inc. alleging the company and driver were negligent.

This article includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Terry Evans, (817) 390-7620

Twitter: @fwstevans

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